Mon, Dec 12, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Observers say DR Congo poll results ‘lack credibility’

AFP, KINSHASA

The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s election standoff intensified yesterday after a team of international observers reported that Congolese President Joseph Kabila’s win was so flawed it lacked credibility.

Kabila was on Friday named the winner of the Nov. 28 poll, but the runner-up, Prime Minister Etienne Tshisekedi, immediately rejected the result and declared himself president.

Violent protests and looting erupted in Kinshasa when Kabila’s win was announced, but a heavy security force presence, including police, presidential guards and about 20,000 soldiers, deployed to the capital had largely restored a tense calm yesterday.

Police said four people had been killed on Friday and Saturday as security forces used tear gas and fired shots in the air and at alleged looters to put down the unrest. UN broadcaster Radio Okapi said six had been killed.

The Carter Center, a non-profit organization that monitored the election, added momentum on Saturday to Tshisekedi’s refusal to accept the results, saying they “lack credibility.”

“Multiple locations ... reported impossibly high rates of 99 to 100 percent voter turnout with all, or nearly all, votes going to incumbent President Joseph Kabila,” according to a statement from the group, founded by former US president Jimmy Carter. “These and other observations point to mismanagement of the results process and compromise the integrity of the presidential election.”

The Carter Center said its 70 observers gave a rating of “poor” to 40 percent of the 169 compilation centers where results were tabulated.

It reported irregularities, including the loss of almost 2,000 polling station results in Kinshasa, a Tshisekedi stronghold, and chaos in the counting process, including ballot sheets soaked in a rain storm being hung on sticks to dry.

“This assessment does not propose that the final order of candidates is necessarily different than announced ... only that the results process is not credible,” it said.

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